Graphic artist Eddi Aguirre takes off Barbie’s make-up:
Why did no one think to do this before!? I love how creative we humans can be!Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
I first posted these posters on SocImages in 2008. They are designed to scare teenagers into taking precautions against pregnancy by demonizing teenagers who get (someone) pregnant. The way in which teens are portrayed in these images — labeled cheap, dirty, rejects, pricks, and nobodys — suggests that the organization, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, doesn’t care about teenagers, only in controlling their behavior.
This is the sentence that runs along the left vertical with the word “reject” extracted in bold: “I had sex so my boyfriend wouldn’t REJECT me. Now, I have a baby. And no boyfriends.”
In response to ads like these, sociologist Gretchen Sisson has started a tumblr of examples of anti-teen pregnancy PSAs that use fear, shame, and threats as motivators, sent to me by @annajobin. Here’s the one I found most stunning; I think it goes something like don’t-drink-and-party-or-you’ll-get-raped-and-pregnant-and-your-life-will-be-horrible-and-oh-your-child-will-become-a-rapist-too:
Here are a set of ads that try to convince women not have (unprotected) sex with their male peers by suggesting that the men showing interest in them are bad guys who will inevitably abandon them:
Public service announcements that claim to be about “preventing teen pregnancy” are more frequently about shaming and stigmatizing young parents. This is not a way to encourage young people to take control of their reproductive lives, and it’s certainly not a way to support young families.
Nor is it a way to support teenagers who are negotiating complicated interpersonal terrain and making difficult decisions. These ads are about getting teenagers to do what we want, not helping them figure out what’s best for them. They caricature the actual lives of teenagers and make early parenthood into a comical boogeyman. Moreover, they send a clear message to the teenagers that do get pregnant: “you’re a slut/idiot and your life is over.” This is not good for young parents and it sets them up to fail.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Cross-posted at The Huffington Post.
One of our Pinterest boards collects images that reveal that men are the “neutral” sex in contemporary Western cultures. This means that (1) the image that pops up in our minds when we say “person” or “human” or “worker” is usually implicitly male, (2) non-sexed representations of people are usually assumed to be male (e.g., cartoon animals appear female to us unless we slap on eyelashes and lipstick), (3) items for sale often get marketed as either “item” or “women’s item” (e.g., “deodorant” and “women’s deodorant”), and (4) men and male bodies get to stand in for humanity (e.g., in scientific research).
Instances of this phenomenon have been a fun series on the blog; we featured another one just this past weekend, on how (not) to write obituaries. Then today SocImages Contributor Philip Cohen sent along another great example that we couldn’t resist sharing. The graphic below, released by Bloomberg Business Week, is meant to help us understand who is in and out of the labor force. While 3% of Americans want to work but can’t find a job, large proportions are also permanently or temporarily out of work on purpose: they’re retired, in college, in the military, disabled, or a stay-at-home parent.
For our purposes in this post, what’s interesting is the way they illustrate the categories. See what you see:
In all cases but one, the stick figured is either non-sexed and therefore implicitly male (e.g., the newspaper reader and the disabled) or explicitly male (the business-suited full-time employees, the mustachioed retiree). The one exception, of course, is for the stay-at-home parent. Suddenly the stick figure is a female. We see this all over. As soon as parenting or housework is involved, all those neutral/male stick figures sprout skirts.
Now, to be fair, 97% of stay-at-home parents are female, but so is 50% of the American workforce. You wouldn’t guess so, however, by this graphic. Also, for what it’s worth, it doesn’t have to be like this.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Cross-posted at Family Inequality.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released its new report on childcare, written by Lynda Laughlin. This provides a good followup treatment for the hyperventilation induced by fear of fathers taking over (or being relegated to) childcare.
First, the trend that fits my story of stalled gender progress. Among married fathers with employed wives, how many are providing the “primary care” for their children? That is, among the various childcare arrangements the children are in while their mother is at work, how many are in their fathers’ care more than in any other arrangement? Answer: 10%, which is virtually unchanged from a quarter-century ago:
Not a lot of change for a quarter century in which we’re told everything has changed.
However, in fairness to the change-is-happening community, here is the trend for the percentage of fathers who say they are providing ANY care to their children while their mothers were at work.
I don’t give this much weight since it might reflect greater sensitivity to the importance of saying fathers provide care, but there you have it: it’s higher, and it shows some increases up until the early 1990s, which is when gender equality in general stalled on many indicators. Since the mid-1990s: Nothing.
Please note these figures don’t show the total contribution of fathers, but only reflects those married with children, whose wives are employed.
One interesting source of father care is mothers’ shiftwork. As Harriet Presser reported two decades ago, the 24/7 economy stimulates some task sharing among couples. In the current report, Laughlin writes:
Philip N. Cohen is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and writes the blog Family Inequality. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Preschoolers whose mothers worked nights or evenings were more likely to have their father as a child care provider than those with mothers who worked a day shift (42 percent and 23 percent, respectively)
The photographs reveal a universality — pride in favorite toys and the love of play — but, writes Ben Machell at Galimberti’s website, “how they play can reveal a lot.” The children’s life experiences influenced their imaginative play:
…the girl from an affluent Mumbai family loves Monopoly, because she likes the idea of building houses and hotels, while the boy from rural Mexico loves trucks, because he sees them rumbling through his village to the nearby sugar plantation every day.
Galimberti, interviewed by Machell, also observed class differences in entitlement to ownership:
The richest children were more possessive. At the beginning, they wouldn’t want me to touch their toys, and I would need more time before they would let me play with them. In poor countries, it was much easier. Even if they only had two or three toys, they didn’t really care. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.
These photographs are reminiscent of another wonderful photography project featuring kids and their toys. JeonMee Yoon photographed boys with all their blue stuff and girls with all their pink stuff. The results are striking. Likewise, there’s a wonderful set of photographs by James Mollison, counterposing portraits with children’s sleeping arrangements across cultures. These are all wonderful projects that powerfully illustrate global and class difference and inequality.
Images borrowed from Feature Shoot.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
“You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted,” said rocket scientist Yvonne Brill.
She must be chuckling in heaven, because her obituary at the New York Times made the common mistake of making her femaleness and femininity a central part of their retrospective. After objections, NYT corrected the obit. Here are the tracked changes, courtesy of NewsDiffs:
At Feministe, Caperton offers a nice discussion of this phenomenon and draws our attention to the Finkbeiner Test, named after journalist Ann Finkbeiner. Inspired by the Bechdel Test for movies, the Finkbeiner Test is used to judge whether stories about women focus excessively on the fact that they are women. To pass the test, the story cannot mention:
We’ve documented lots of instances of the men-are-people and women-are-women phenomenon. It’s no wonder it shows up in obituaries too. I’m glad that we’re becoming sensitive enough to the issue to notice it and that institutions like the NYT are responsive enough to change the most egregious examples of it. Next step: prevention.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Cross-posted at Osocio.
We’ve been covering the saga of Russian protest punk group Pussy Riot for over a year now. The feminist collective performed guerrilla musical protests around Russia against Vladimir Putin. One in particular, in a church, ended with members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina sentenced to two years imprisonment for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. The human rights implications of this sentence attracted much worldwide attention, with Amnesty International and celebrities like Sting, Yoko Ono and Madonna speaking out for the women.
But something else happened. The “Free Pussy Riot” movement, with its iconic knitted balaclavas and provocative language, became a popular meme. The cause célèbre was even appropriated by the fashion industry.
Which is what makes this video by Blush lingerie an intriguing conundrum. While it legitimately promotes the freepussyriot.org fundraising site to help the women, it is also promoting a product using a woman’s sexuality as the bait:
On the first anniversary of the Pussy Riot concert in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Berlin based Lingerie label blush supports the free pussy riot movement with a sexy protest march through icy Moscow (-15° C). Support Freepussyriot.org!
This is no Femen action, in which women’s bodies become weapons of protest. It is a commercial for sexy underwear that pays for its appropriation of a radical feminist cause by directing people to that cause.
Is this irony?
Tom Megginson is a Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. He is a specialist in social marketing, cause marketing, and corporate social responsibility. You can follow Tom at workthatmatters.blogspot.com.
Re-posted in honor of Roger Ebert’s passing. Cross-posted at BlogHer.
University of Minnesota doctoral candidate Chris Miller sent in a fascinating episode of Siskel and Ebert, a long-lasting TV show devoted to reviewing movies. What is amazing about this episode is the frankness with which the movie critics — Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert — articulate a feminist analysis of a group of slasher movies.
The year? 1980.
First they describe the typical movie:
A woman or young girl is shown alone and isolated and defenseless… a crazy killer springs out of the shadows and attacks her and frequently the killer sadistically threatens the victims before he strikes.
They pull no punches in talking about the problem with the films:
These films hate women.
They go on to suggest that the films are a backlash against the women’s movement:
I’m convinced it has to do with the growth of the woman’s movement in America in the last decade. I think that these films are some sort of primordial response by some very sick people… of men saying “get back in your place, women.”
One thing that most of the victims have in common is that they do act independently… They are liberated women who act on their own. When a woman makes a decision for herself, you can almost bet she will pay with her life.
They note, too, that the violence is sexualized:
The nudity is always gratuitous. It is put in to titillate the audience and women who dress this way or merely uncover their bodies are somehow asking for trouble and somehow deserve the trouble they get. That’s a sick idea.
And they’re not just being anti-horror movie. They conclude:
[There are] good old fashioned horror films… [but] there is a difference between good and scary movies and movies that systematically demean half the human race.
It’s refreshing to hear a straightforward unapologetic feminist analysis outside of a feminist space. Their analysis, however, isn’t as sophisticated as it could be.
In doing research for a podcast about sex and violence against women in horror films (Sounds Familiar), I came across the keen analysis of Carol Clover, who wrote a book called Men, Women, and Chainsaws.
Clover admitted that most horror films of the time sexualized violence against women — meditating on the torture and terrorizing of beautiful female victims — but she also pointed out that the person who ultimately vanquished the murderer was almost always also female. She called this person the ”final girl.”
The final girl was different than the rest of the women in the film: she was less sexually active, more androgynous, and smarter. You could pick her out, Clover argued, from the very beginning of the movie. She was always the first to notice that something frightening might be going on.
Boys and men watching horror films, then (and that is the main audience for this genre), were encouraged to “get off” on the murder of women, but they were also encouraged to identify with a female heroine in the end. How many other genres routinely ask men to identify with a female character? Almost none.
In this sense, Clover argues, horror films don’t “hate women.” Instead, they hate a particular kind of woman. They reproduce a Madonna/whore dichotomy in which the whores are dispatched with pleasure, but the Madonna rises to save us all in the end.
Siskel and Ebert full episode:
Full transcript after the jump: